The iPhone Revolution
The iPhone is going to change the Internet landscape in a way no other technology has in the last decade.
Forget about Facebook, Twitter and other websites, this device is going to bring about change that the business community may find disruptive. In fact it is the classical disruptive technology that the Internet was so many years ago.
Read on to hear my argument as to why this device is special and how other hyped Social Network sites whilst important are not a platform change - they may just be a flash in the pan....
The importance of the iPhone
My 15 year old neice Laura just forked out $750 for an iPhone and has already chewed up half a dozen mobile phones. Laura has to go prepaid due to a few overruns on previous plans. Its a networked device so she can sit at home and run YouTube videos where ever she is around the house.
Why does a 15 year old purchase an iPhone with her own hard earned funds?
Are books becoming obsolete?
Some schools are already integrating iPhones into their systems and not providing text books. One reason for this is the unique easy reading capacity of this device. It reacts to hand movements and can be turned on its side for easier reading.
This is a very tightly controlled platform. Great for Apple who need to approve the following -:
- Any Application
- A developers Licence
- Whether the application conforms to their standards
- Every application sold earns the creators of the iPhone a commission via the iPhone store
- Can only be developed on an Apple Mac
We are looking at innovative ways to create iPhone applications and games. We do have the Unity 3d Pro environment which allows us to utilise our expertise on that platform to create interactive games in multiple platforms.
Coles supermarket has an iPhone application Its free and allows you to purchase items for a specific recipe.
Samsung and HTC phones are becoming very iPhone like They can all take photos, video, audio, email and look very similar to an iPhone. But my neice wanted an iPhone.
Samsung (Nov-11) won a battle with Apple to allow the right to sell its Galaxy 10.1 tablet in Australia after the Federal Court overturned a ban on the sale of the computer.
Check our article on processing payments on an iphone app via a payment gateway
Apple blocks Adobe Flash and others from creating iphone applications for the Apple istore. This is quite significant as Google Android is working in the opposite direction allowing anyone to create applications and creating a system where anyone (not necessarily a programmer) can create them.
However now Flash developers can leverage their skills and make apps for the ios market with the latest software and libraries.
iPhone 4 has problems
The iPhone 4 launched in the US recently has antenna reception problems. Will Apple launch the same device in Australia this month?
Twitter is great but may not survive
Everyone has their 10 cents worth on Twitter so here is mine. A few years ago I asked my Griffith eCommerce students to examine the following social networking sites:-
- Google - YouTube
Prior to that I asked the students to join a private Twitter group for the subject. When I sought permission from my supervisor at Griffith, Steve asked me to compile my findings on the learning experience and Twitter so every Twitter article in the Financial Review and other sources I am compelled to read.
The students (approx 100) had to analyse the sites and report on recommend which is worth investing in and justify their answer using well documented measures like SWOT analysis (its good practise to develop business and marketing plans for any website).
Google makes most of its money from search engine ads and in my opinion bought YouTube for $1.65 billion US so that no one else would get it. It was protecting its market. Yahoo and MSN are complex portals that are very sticky (hold people on their site).
MySpace is losing advertising revenue and is hemoraging to Facebook - but Facebook may not even make any profit anyway and generally once these sites try to create profit from running these massive servers and data the public jump to the next thing. They generally rely upon an advertising supported revenue model, and users often vote with their feet when they get advertised to.
Twitter if you don't know by now is a micro blog with a 140 character limit and a cute interface. It may make some revenue from sending SMS messages, but actually claims not to have any revenue model. It has had some server issues due to the volume of 'tweets'. Its great for celebrities or any company that needs to put bite sized info out and people can follow them. Interestingly our travelling pro surfers use it to communicate to their fans and it really allows you to be a part of someones life. But it may not actually be profitable.
I am a search engine optimization specialist and my initial concern was does Twitter effect search engine rankings and if so I had better get involved. The answer is yes and no - the actual links are not passing on any value as such but any traffic on a website has a value to Google.
It has been documented that Twitter has a 40% retention rate with Facebook having massive growth at the moment. YouTube may not make any money at all either. It is predicted that eventually with a 40% retention rate Twitter will run out of people and start to decline.
Predictiing the future - the iPhone future
Why does the iPhone interest or effect your business?
As a web developer and probably like everyone else in a business we need to focus on where our best efforts should be directed. So issues like web standards, programming languages, emerging technologies need to be assessed to ensure we do not find ourselves on the scrap heap.
In 2000 I read a paper (secret I think at the time) about how Google was created and the basis of how their search algorithm worked. I started building integrating this into my websites and content management system with some amazing results. Years later the value of that research has allowed me to be very effective at the time when getting to the top of Google is well recognised as a cost effective marketing tool (now). Typically in that same time it is difficult to justify 3-5 k on a website for some clients becuase competition and perceptions are that these are now cheaper. The real cost of a dud website is another story.
Other technologies like Flash Development (the best animation software) any thing Google - Google Calendars, Google Maps, Payment Gateways are important technologies and require an understanding to give the right choices to clients.
Now I realise the benefit of marketing, and actively seek textbooks and experts on the topic. Marketing a business profitably is very important.
By now you are probably thinking this bloke is wonderful where do I buy the tickets? But the point is the iPhone is going to have an effect on us.
I recommend if you have an iPhone application in mind to contact us - phone (07) 55320651.
Should your website look differently on an iPhone or smart phone?
This is an issue - there is never a one size fits all approach, simply because you can make a site perform well on any device without actually looking different.
Some sites work well if they detect it is a mobile device and shape the content accordinly. It really depends on the website because many people do get frustrated when they are forced into a mobile site when really they want the main web version.
iPhone and smart phone optimised Real Estate System
About the author
Philip Hoile has lectured at Griffith University in e-business, advanced e-business, e-commerce and User Interface Design. A web developer since 1996 specialising in programming website Content Management Systems.
My interest in marketing stems from a desire to improve client outcomes.